Save Our Cheeses!
Eat local cheese. It’s for a good cause! The economic casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic are many and varied. Some are more obvious than others – such as the hospitality industry. However, many local producers who supply the hospitality industry with their quality produce are also suffering, having lost their wholesale markets overnight as bars and restaurants shut. This includes our highly respected artisan cheesemakers; the cheeseboard showcasing regional cheeses is a menu classic.
There have been reports in the national media of cheesemakers pouring away thousands of litres of milk, while wheels of cheese mature in store. It is thought that this could result in the loss of some of our small, regional cheesemakers who have developed an impressive reputation worldwide.
We can all help by discovering our local cheeses. In Hampshire we have a cheeseboard collection of outstanding cheeses. These include stalwarts such as Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers, known in particular for Old Winchester (incidentally this is a delicious vegetarian alternative to Parmesan), Hampshire Cheeses, the company behind renowned Tunworth Cheese, Britain’s answer to Camembert, and Two Hoots Cheese, a small family business making Barkham Blue which picked up Super Gold in the World Cheese Awards 2019-20.
Others include Briddlesford Farm on the Isle of Wight making mouth-watering feta and halloumi style cheeses, as well as a Cheddar and Caerphilly. Laverstoke Park produce buffalo Cheddar and Gouda as well as an exceptional buffalo Mozzarella that makes a simple and luscious salad sliced with Isle of Wight tomatoes and torn basil leaves). Then there's a new cheese on the block: Four Brothers Cheese's Pippin - a brandy-washed soft cheese named after one of their cows!
Check out their websites to find out whether you can buy them online (many producers are updating their services) or through local stockists. Delis, village stores and, notably, farm shops stock an excellent selection of local cheeses.
For those staying home and relying on delivery of groceries, Hampshire Fare box delivery members also supplying local cheeses include Bitterne Box Co, Farmers Choice, Harvest and New Forest Hamper Co (among others). Check out our downloadable home delivery list here.
At the time of writng the Government has promised new funding to support dairy farmers. In the meantime we can still do our bit. Eat local cheeses to help our top producers who are passionate about what they do and make such an outstanding contribution to Hampshire's food heritage.
So choose local, support local producers and eat well at home.